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3 relatives of slain girl with albinism arrested

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Police have arrested 40-year-old Joyce Nkhoma and two others in relation to the brutal murder of a three-year-old girl with albinism in Kasungu.

Nkhoma is the late Talandira Chirwa’s grandmother while the other two are Cosmas Divala Ngwira, 46, and Kennedy Nyirenda, 28, also related to the deceased.

Kasungu Police Public Relations Officer Joseph Kachikho confirmed the arrests in an interview yesterday.

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Kachikho said the three are suspected to have had a hand in the murder of the girl on November 30 at Mawawa Village in Traditional Authority (T/A) Chulu in Kasungu.

The arrest comes after a visit to the area by Malawi Human Rights Commissioner responsible for disability and the elderly, Boniface Massa, and Police Commissioner for the Central East Region, Noel Kayira, on Friday.

Massa has since called for justice to take its course in the matter.

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“The toddler had her hand chopped off. She died a painful death and my plea is that everyone involved gets punished for their crime,” Massa said.

Kachikho said the police are continuing with their investigations to trace the chopped limb.

Nkhoma and Ngwira hail from Mawawa Village while Nyirenda comes from Mponde Village, all in T/A Chulu in the Central Region district.

The murder of Talandira has once again raised concerns on the safety of persons with albinism in the country with Amnesty International (AI) urging authorities to improve their protection across the country.

The attack also follows the attempted abduction of a two-year old boy with albinism in Phalombe on 19 last month.

“The horrific nature of the death of Talandira Chirwa is deeply shocking and a cause of great concern.

“This killing and the removal of a limb is consistent with past patterns on attacks on persons with albinism, which are driven by the false belief that their body parts bring wealth and good luck,” Vongai Chikwanda, AI’s Campaigner for Southern Africa, said in a statement.

On the night of the attack, the toddler was reportedly sleeping in the same bed with her grandmother when an unidentified man broke into the house, stabbed the child in the neck, chopped off her arm and fled.

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